The Whig Party & The Regency Crisis, 1788 – 1789: An Exploration of a Constitutional Crisis Through Political Cartoon & Satire

The Whig Party & The Regency Crisis, 1788 – 1789: An Exploration of a Constitutional Crisis Through Political Cartoon & Satire

In 1788 British politics was thrown into a state of crisis, the King – George III – went mad. While it could be argued that this in of itself was of little issue – George would be far from the first Mad King, indeed it could be commented that it’s almost an essential feature of a hereditary monarchy – yet the resulting political machinations created some of the most interesting satirical caricatures of not just the time, but indeed in general.

While it is true that some characterize this crisis as a ‘barren and futile episode in party warfare’ it does, in my opinion, epitomize some of the most interesting elements of this period in terms of politics.1 After all, in what other conflicts in this period will you find a Whig defend Royal Prerogative while a Tory fights for parliamentary privilege?

This work is a brief project, which I produced during my second year of university, attempts to provide a general overview of not just the crisis itself, but also how the caricaturists sought to portray the various figures involved.

  1. John Wesley Derry, The Regency Crisis and the Whigs, 1788-9 (Cambridge University Press, 1964).

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